Chemical Instrumentation: Developing a Label Free Spectroscopic Detector for Flow Analysis of Microparticles in Blood Serum
The cells of our bodies are continually ejecting tiny bits of debris. Now researchers are realizing these so-called microparticles may be useful indicators of numerous ills, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is yet unclear how many types of the particles exist and precisely how to read them. Schultz’s goal is to improve on current methods of flow cytometry to detect and classify individual microparticles in the bloodstream. (Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology used to count cells and other items by suspending them in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detector.) His strategy utilizes nanostructurs to enhance Raman spectroscopy, a chemically specific laser-based technique for analyzing molecules. Schultz’educational goal is to better familiarize undergraduate students with the instruments of chemistry and how instrumentation influences our understanding of scientific problems. A key component of this process requires students to ask a specific scientific question that can be addressed using the instrumentation available in on-campus research facilities. By providing meaningful, high-quality undergraduate laboratory experiences with state-of-the-art instrumentation, he hopes to encourage students to pursue scientific careers.